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Heroism and the pursuit of a meaningful life
Kinsella, Elaine Louise; Igou, Eric Raymond; Ritchie, Timothy D.
Individuals and groups of individuals are motivated to find meaning in their activities and in life, generally. That is, when events or affective states threaten or reduce a person s sense of meaning, psychological processes are mobilized to serve the goals of meaning maintenance and meaning reestablishment, respectively. We examined two avenues for meaning maintenance: First, we considered psychological resources from the enhancing, moral modelling, and protecting functions of heroes, and second, we considered engagement in heroic behavior as a means to create meaning. We addressed contemporary heroes via conceptual and empirical literatures to discuss a variety of ways that heroes derive meaning from their own actions, and the extent to which others could glean personal meaning from a hero s characteristics and actions. We present a meaning regulation framework that explains how heroes and heroic behavior each boost meaning and the meaning maintenance processes, such as heroism as a buffer against meaning threats. We synthesized relevant literatures on meaning and heroism, and offer a framework that illustrates heroic functions in the context of meaning in life: a central, superordinate psychological variable that is familiar to many individuals and groups. This framework offers many opportunities for future research and practical application of heroism. peer-reviewed
Keyword(s): heroes; meaning; existential psychology; positive psychology; self-regulation
Publication Date:
Type: Journal article
Peer-Reviewed: Yes
Language(s): English
Institution: University of Limerick
Citation(s): Journal of Humanistic Psychology;pp. 1-25
Publisher(s): SAGE Publications
First Indexed: 2018-04-18 06:25:19 Last Updated: 2018-04-18 06:25:19